football:-saints

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Joan of Arc! This piece is actually about a year old, it’s been hiding in limbo for a while. It’s part of an artbook compilation featuring demons and saints! I’m not sure if the book is still being released but there is still a small possibility.

I included my black and white rough of the piece here because I like how it initially looked before painting!

At some point while I was playing or preparing to play Monday Night Football, the news broke about the Ferguson Decision. After trying to figure out how I felt, I decided to write it down. Here are my thoughts:

I’M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.

I’M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety movie sets and music studios.

I’M FEARFUL because in the back of my mind I know that although I’m a law abiding citizen I could still be looked upon as a “threat” to those who don’t know me. So I will continue to have to go the extra mile to earn the benefit of the doubt.

I’M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.

I’M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations, insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never know the truth about what happened that day.

I’M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.

I’M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I’ve seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.

I’M CONFUSED, because I don’t know why it’s so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don’t know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.

I’M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take “our” side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it’s us against them. Sometimes I’m just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that’s not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That’s not right.

I’M HOPELESS, because I’ve lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I’m not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.

I’M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it’s a beautiful thing.

I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn.

BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel.

So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.

—  Benjamin Watson of the New Orleans Saints
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Spotlight: Saints & Demons

Today we present a selection of images from SS. Icones Benedictinae (1677) by Amando Liebhaber, a collection of over 100 copperplate etchings of Benedictine saints engaged in a variety of pious acts: performing miracles; healing the sick; raising the dead; consoling the destitute; counseling the powerful; founding abbeys; cavorting with wild animals; receiving martyrdom. I’ve decided to point the spotlight on saints confronting demons because, well, demons are cool. And saints subduing demons are even more cool. Although martyrdom images come in a pretty close second. Perhaps I’ll spotlight that another time.

Anyway, my favorite will always be St. Dunstan subduing a demon with a set of flaming-hot tongs to the nose. Saints and demons: superheroes of their day!

Find it in the catalog here.

—MAX

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6 December is the Feast of St. Nicholas, patron saint of numerous groups, including sailors, merchants, and children. Though Greek, Nicholas is widely revered in Italy because of the translation of his relics from his original tomb in Myra, where he was bishop in the 4th century, to Bari in the late 11th century.

Numerous Italian artists have portrayed events from the saint’s legend, including his provision of a dowry for three poor girls, throwing money through their window as they slept, Another story relates how he saved three innocent youths from beheading by a corrupt Roman consul.  

Nicholas is typically shown wearing his bishop’s mitre and ecclesiastical robes and often holds gold balls as a symbol of the dowry he provided to the poor girls (the Golden Legend says he left a “mass of gold” but artists typically show spheres). His reputation for secret gift-giving, Nicholas serves as the model for Santa Claus, and many mark the beginning of the Christmas season with his feast day.

Palmerino di Guido, St Nicholas Saving Three Innocents from Decapitation, 1300-01. Fresco. Chapel of St Nicholas, Lower Church, San Francesco, Assisi

Cecco di Pietro, St Nicholas, c. 1386. Poplar panel, gold ground, Musée du Petit Palais, Avignon

Fra Angelico, St Nicholas of Bari, 1423-24. Tempera on wood. Private collection (originally part of the San Domenico di Fiesole Altarpiece).

Gentile da Fabriano, Quaratesi Polyptych: Pilgrims at the Tomb of St Nicholas of Bari, 1425. Panel, National Gallery of Art, Washington

Fra Angelico, Stories of St Nicholas, altarpiece predella, 1447-48. Tempera and gold on panel, Pinacoteca, Vatican

Bartolomeo Vivarini, St Nicholas of Bari, bef. 1499. Panel, Santo Stefano, Venice

Tintoretto, St Nicholas, before 1594. Oil on canvas, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Leonardo Corona, St Nicholas Aiding Shipwrecked Sailors in a Storm, bef. 1605. Oil on canvas. San Nicolò dei Mendicoli, Venice

Don’t worry about tomorrow because the very same Heavenly Father who takes care of you today will have the same thought tomorrow and always… What does a child in the arms of such a Father have to fear? Be as children, who hardly ever think about their future as they have someone to think for them. They are sufficiently strong just by being with their father. ~ St. Padre Pio

How to behave during Mass, by Saint Padre Pio

Enter the church in silence and with great respect, considering yourself unworthy to appear before the Lord’s Majesty.  Amongst other pious considerations, remember that our soul is the temple of God and, as such, we must keep it pure and spotless before God and his angels. Let us blush for having given access to the devil and his snares many times (with his enticements to the world, his pomp, his calling to the flesh) by not being able to keep our hearts pure and our bodies chaste; for having allowed our enemies to insinuate themselves into our hearts, thus desecrating the temple of God which we became through holy Baptism.

     Then take holy water and make the sign of the cross carefully and slowly

the full letter: 

picture:

vine

HUGE Brawl at the #CARvsNO game

"Up till now you have not learned to love your neighbor. You answer men’s dislike towards you by dislike on your part. But do the contrary; answer others’ dislike by heartfelt goodwill and love; the more dislike you see towards you,
the more you should love.”

~St. John of Kronstadt

(art: Christ as Heavenly King, by Seymon Ushakov, later 17th century)

In case you didn’t know about St. Nicholas’s awesomeness, you should know this. in 325 AD at the Council of Nicaea, a man named Arius was passionately pronouncing his view that Jesus, the Son of God, was not equal to God the Father. Nicholas, a bishop in attendance, couldn’t take it anymore, so he crossed the room and slapped Arius across the face for being a heretic!

St. Nicholas, heretic slapper, bearded Gospel man, pray for us.

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Today (November 25) is the Feast Day of St. Catherine of Alexandria. Catherine is frequently represented in Italian art, either as a stand-alone subject including narrative scenes from her biography or, more commonly, as an attendant to the Virgin Mary and Christ Child. According to tradition, the princess was martyred in the early 4th century upon the orders of pagan emperor Maxentius for her “crime” of converting hundreds of Romans to Christianity. She had been raised according to the traditional pagan faith of her parents, King Costus and Queen Sabinella of Alexandria. A mystical vision, in which Mary betrothed the young Catherine to Jesus, inspired the saint to conversion and evangelism. Thereafter, Catherine traveled to meet Maxentius, aiming to convince him to stop persecuting Christians, then known as Followers of the Way. The emperor, hoping to humiliate her, staged a debate among the leading philosophers and orators of the day. Catherine defeated them soundly. Though impressing her followers and biographers, her debating skills led to torture, imprisonment, a failed marriage proposal from the emperor, and ultimately her beheading.

Donato and Gregorio d”Arezzo, St. Catherine of Alexandria and Scenes from her Life, tempera on panel, ca. 1330. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 73.PB.69.

Bernardo Daddi, St. Catherine of Alexandria with Donor and Christ Blessing, tempera on panel, c. 1340, Florence: Museo dell’Opera del Duomo

Michelino da Besozzo, The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine, St John the Baptist, St Antony Abbot, tempera on wood, ca. 1420, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena

Masolino, Scenes from the Life of St. Catherine, 1425-31, fresco, Rome, San Clemente, Castiglione Chapel

Lorenzo Lotto, St. Catherine of Alexandria, 1522, oil on panel, Washington, National Gallery of Art

Jacopo Bassano, The Martyrdom of St Catherine of Alexandria, oil on canvas, 1544, Bassano del Grappa, Museo Biblioteca Archivio

Gaudenzio Ferrari, The Martyrdom of St. Catherine of Alexandria, oil on panel, bef. 1546, Milan, Pinacoteca di Brera

Paolo Veronese, Mystical Marriage of St Catherine, c. 1575, oil on canvas, Venice, Gallerie dell’Accademia

Caravaggio, St Catherine of Alexandria, c. 1598, oil on canvas, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza

Artemesia Gentilleschi, St. Catherine of Alexandria, c. 1620, oil on canvas, Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved You! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with You. Created things kept me from You; yet if they had not been in You they would have not been at all. You called, You shouted, and You broke through my deafness. You flashed, You shone, and You dispelled my blindness. You breathed Your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for You. I have tasted You, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for Your peace.
—  St. Augustine, The Confessions